‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Is Saving My Life

The popular game is a balm for my depression. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Brandon R. Chinn
LEVEL
Published in
5 min readMar 30, 2020

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A photo of a Nintendo Switch menu. “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is highlighted.
Photo: Felipe Vieira via Unsplash

This morning I woke up and left my house.

I gleefully checked my mailbox and found that I had received some packages I ordered, some letters of kindness from my neighbors, and a few unexpected presents from friends far away. I took in the morning sun as I left my house and walked the path to the middle of town; there were things I needed to buy, errands to run. New flowers bloomed from the day before, and the sound of morning crickets greeted me. To treat myself, I stopped by the local clothing store and bought a new jacket and glasses.

Except, the real me — the one behind the screen — laid in bed for two hours. With the real-world pandemic happening around me, I find that my morning routine exists only in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, on the fictional island that I’ve been grooming and maintaining for the past week and a half. Thanks to the popular Nintendo Switch game, I’ve made friends. I’ve planted trees and flowers and harvested fruit. I’ve invested in my community and traded gifts with my neighbors. I’ve done some fishing — a lot of fishing, actually — and I’ve spent time on tours in the local museum. Everything in Animal Crossing has become a new routine, a…

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Brandon R. Chinn
LEVEL
Writer for

Author of the Kognition Cycle. Works featured in Hawk & Cleaver, Twist in Time, Selene Quarterly. For inquiries contact brandonrchinn@gmail.com.